Sacramento, California - The California Energy Commission committee that is conducting proceedings on the proposed Huntington Beach Energy Project (HBEP) issued its Presiding Member's Proposed Decision (PMPD) today recommending approval of the natural gas-fired 939-megawatt electrical generating facility in Huntington Beach.

In its decision, the committee Commissioner Andrew McAllister, presiding member, and Commissioner Karen Douglas, associate member said the planned power plant "will, as mitigated, have no significant impacts on the environment and will comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and standards."

The committee's decision was based solely on the facts that were presented during the facility's certification proceeding. The committee determined that the record, which contains a detailed environmental impact assessment required by the California Environmental Quality Act, was adequate. The record includes the California Energy Commission staff's independent assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment, public health, and safety.

The PMPD is not a final decision on the project. The document will go through a 30-day public comment period, and a committee conference on the proposed decision will be held Sept. 17, in Sacramento. The committee will consider any comments that are received before the proposed decision is brought to the full Commission, which will decide to accept, reject, or modify the committee's recommendations during a scheduled business meeting on Oct 7.

If approved, the proposed plant will be developed by AES Southland Development, LLC, and will replace the older AES Huntington Beach Generating Station. The new plant would be built within the existing facility footprint. Demolition of the old plant and construction of the new one will be done in phases. The first unit will be completed in about 30 months. In addition to being more energy efficient than the existing plant, the new facility would reduce criteria pollutants for each megawatt-hour of electricity generated and would use air-cooled condensers instead of once-through cooling condensers that use ocean water.

The certification process for the Huntington Beach project began in June 2012 when AES Southland Development submitted an Application for Certification to the Energy Commission.

The proposed decision is available at http://docketpublic.energy.ca.gov/PublicDocuments/12-AFC-02/TN203024_20140903T085320_Presiding_Member's_Proposed_Decision__PMPD.pdf.